Buy the right way: basic tools

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Buy the right way: basic tools



Buy the right way: basic tools

Buy right
Basic tools

Great offer: 100 pieces for 29.95 euros. You can’t go wrong with that, can you? You can, because when buying tools, only quality counts, not quantity.


The typical hobby screwdriver career has exactly two tool phases. In the first phase, you buy as cheaply as possible, only to find out that the super-cheap open-end wrench is not dimensionally accurate and ruins the screw head, that the slipping joint of discount water pump pliers causes impressively crushed fingers and that an unsecured and therefore uncontrolled blown hammer head on the motorcycle tank really causing expensive damage. The second tool phase would then be reached.

The insight is: cheap tools are no good. Not even as a makeshift solution, because it ruins your workpiece and your health. And now the hobby mechanic is making targeted purchases. It doesn’t need 100 parts, half of which are useless cable lugs anyway. He buys brand quality piece by piece, where a combination wrench set can cost 70 euros and more, a hammer around 20 euros and a screwdriver over ten euros. For basic equipment, you can easily pay around 400 euros. But good tools are – at least in the hobby area – an acquisition for a screwdriver’s life. When buying tools, you can confidently rely on brand names. The brand providers play (somewhat roughly simplified and with flowing transitions) in three leagues: Good quality with an excellent price-performance ratio is definitely available in hardware stores and motorcycle accessories dealers. Provided that it says KS tools, Proxxon or Lux. Occasional screwdrivers are very well served. Ambitious hobby screwdrivers rely on products from Belzer, Gedore, Hazet, Heyco and Stahlwille, among others. Knipex for pliers and Wera and Wiha for screwdrivers are other good names. Tools from these renowned providers, mostly from Germany, are often used in workshops. Facom from France and Snap-on from the USA play in the Champions League. A third phase has been reached with high-quality material from these providers: that of the tool gourmet.

Tool info

The combination pliers are a combination of side cutters, water pump and needle nose pliers. It can do something of everything, but nothing right. Therefore, it is better to buy the three individual parts right away. Pay attention to the joint of the water pump pliers. Cheap parts jump over when loaded. Caution: risk of crushing!

Thick, non-slip handle and continuous blade – that’s how it should be. The tip of quality screwdrivers is always black, because chrome-plated ones become brittle and break faster. The motorcycle screwdriver needs slotted screwdrivers in sizes 5.5 and eight millimeters. The sizes PH1 and PH2 are sufficient for cross-head screws. PZ sizes are unsuitable.

Feeler gauge
Is used to measure small distances, for example the electrode gap for spark plugs or the valve clearance. The sheet metal sheets of different thicknesses usually start at 0.05 millimeters, then go up in 0.05 millimeter steps.

Allen key
Allen key (“Allen key”) is available in a short, angled form (“Ikea” model). With a ball head, they are particularly practical in angled places. With easily accessible screws, forces can be transmitted better with T-handle wrenches. Some Japan bikes have very large hexagon socket screws, matching keys are only available individually.

The basic equipment includes a set of open-end and ring spanners or a set of open-end / ring spanners. The most commonly used sizes are 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19 and 22 millimeters. “Chrome vanadium” alone does not say anything about the actual quality, but suggests that at least tool steel is used.

Locksmith’s hammers are available in different weight classes, for the beginning one with 500 grams is sufficient.The handle must be made of good hardwood, the head must sit straight and tight (wedged) on the handle. The plastic hammer is used where the hard machinist’s hammer would damage sensitive surfaces.

Socket wrench set
The handle, which can be switched to left or right rotation, is called “ratchet”, the inserts are called “nuts”. Depending on the space and effort, you work with 1/2 and 1/4 inch drives (picture) or with 3/8 inch drives. It is better to use hexagon nuts than twelve-point nuts. Important sizes: see spanner.

Torque wrench
Almost a luxury for novice screwdrivers, but actually indispensable if screws are not too tight or too loose, i.e. must be tightened with a defined torque. There are such values ​​for every screw on a motorcycle (can be found in the workshop manual and in most repair instructions). Meticulous compliance is particularly important on the cylinder head, on the engine housing and on various chassis parts. A range of up to 40 or 50 Nm is usually sufficient for a motorcycle.

Tool boxes
Socket wrench sets (left) are available in good quality from 70 euros. An electrical kit (middle, 15 euros) is helpful for installing accessories. Complete boxes (150 euros) are only suitable for rarely used screwdrivers (all Polo products)

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